Basement is “done”

My contract with this Builder was to create a 7 foot basement. He gave me 6 ½ feet instead. One of his many delightful surprises.

With flooring, that will make it pretty much my son’s height and into an unusable family space. However, it is square footage we never had before and hopefully we can get something good out of it, other than storage. Maybe a ping pong or fussball table?

View from one end to the other (south to north).
Looking into space from the old basement.
View of the pass through to the old basement.
This is what my old basement looks like, crammed full of stuff.

The old basement will always be short and mostly useless, other than laundry and storage. I had hoped for more from the new basement. We’ll see what I can eventually make it into.

At least now the formerly bowing basement wall is no longer a danger to the house. In fact, the Builder tells me I could (theoretically) take down the entire wall between the two basements, because the engineered beam that the addition is built onto is also supporting the original house. I’m not going to test that theory without consulting an engineer.

Update on the Main Floor

The main floor is insulated, wired, plumbed, and drywalled. There is an open area for a family room, with bay windows:

Where pass-through to front door area will be.

The wall area by the windows that is not drywalled is  where an opening to the old house is going to go. It will be a pass through directly to the front door area. I’d call it a foyer, but it’s pretty tiny and cramped.

Looking from the living room area to the kitchen, where there is a new wide pass-through.  Lovely.

To the right of the pass-through seen above is new powder room. It’s small, but just what a main floor needs. Just room for a toilet and a sink. Had to convince the plumber that the sink had room to fit in front of the pocket door entry, and the toilet could go by the window.

Awaiting flooring and fixtures.

Closet space by back door – one for coats and boots, the only one in the house, and one smaller one for tools. These are directly across from the powder room, and right beside the back door.

Tool closet and coat closet.

And, finally, the back door.

Back door (temporary builder’s grade door).


Code compliance requires new soffits to have built-in venting, to the tune of 25% of the area. The original soffits had no venting. Essentially, the attic pulled in its air through any cracks and holes that would have been in the attic, and then through the attic hatch, which was not insulated. I have no idea whether that was sufficient or not, but the whirlybird on the roof was always spinning, so I know there was air movement.

New soffits with venting make matching to my original soffits quite impossible. The Builder has done the best he can, I think. He’s installed a wood beadboard product that looks like tongue and groove, with a strip of venting.

Old meets new

The Builder says the venting strips have to go along the north and south of the house, and not along the west. The west would have been preferable, as then they would have been out of sight entirely. However, he says I did not have a choice.

Venting strip compared to no venting strip

I’ll be painting it in the summer and hopefully it will blend in a little better. As it is, it looks obvious and unsuitable and doesn’t match up at all, so I may have to replace the original soffit to match the new. Will assess in the summer.

I notice that the eavestrough corner looks pretty rough ….

Nearing Completion

I hope I’m not being stupidly optimistic in saying this, but the building seems to be nearing completion. In  December my friend Craig took over managing the project and dealing with the Builder for me. I was at wits end, ready to commit assault, and he very kindly stepped in and has been saving the day.

Craig reminds the  Builder that he also has to come to work everyday, stay for most of the day, and get some work done. Amazing that a so-called professional needs that babysitting, but he does. It hasn’t been 100% successful, in that some days the Builder still doesn’t come or do anything or stay for any meaningful length of time, but it has helped significantly as we’re nearing completion. I’m quite confident I would not be saying that if Craig hadn’t been babysitting.

Right now we have my beautiful windows installed, the insulation is almost complete, and poly on, with City inspection in a few days. If Craig hadn’t been on site, the Builder would have then disappeared for a month after he’d installed the windows. That’s his “m.o” But with Craig’s help, the Builder came back the next day to keep on working! Amazing!

One issue with the insulation is that some frost developed behind some temporarily installed pink insulation, where the Builder now has to put in foam insulation. Foam insulation can’t go onto frost, so we have to get rid of the frost. So, today, since the weather is supposed to be nice, I’m going to remove the pink insulation and set up a strong fan. It’s a small area. Hopefully by tomorrow the frost will be out and Builder can get sprayfoam done and final poly installed.

Then there is a chunk of concrete in the basement the Builder has to crack out. He’d installed it as a landing, but it is no longer needed. Then rim joist insulation down there and all small holes filled, widen the doorway area to the original basement, and clean up. The doorway area has to be widened because the plumber installed heating ducts through that door and now I can’t walk under it without ducking. So, new door location required.

Then sub-floor, and  upstairs: bathroom fan, poly, attic hatch, et voila! Builder should be off my property until the springtime, when he comes back to  clean up his work site, grade the elevation, and do a gravel driveway.

Oops, one more unresolved issue: the Builder did not put any heat into my upstairs bathroom. Yes, that’s how clever he is. It is wired for in-floor heat, but that is not sufficient in my climate So, either electrician comes back and installs electric wall-heat or plumber comes back and installs furnace duct.

Final electrical and plumbing inspections will be my responsibility, because I’m installing the drywall, flooring, and fixtures. With my friend Craig helping, I think I’ll be able to be motivated and educated on how to get that all done. It’s possible that by March I could be sitting in my addition, at least with sub-floor, drywall, and fixtures. Final painting, wood trims, and decorations might be longer.